Hartlepool United were sunk by a late goal as they lost 2-1 to Rochdale away from home. Bryn Morris got the opener for Pools, but second-half strikes from Jimmy Keohane and Eoghan O’Connell saw the hosts take all three points.
The side, led by Micky Nelson, had an early shout for a penalty waved away after a stray arm seemed to catch Omar Bogle, but the side didn’t have to wait long for a breakthrough. A pinpoint cross from loanee Joe White found Hartlepool-born Bryn Morris in the box, and the midfielder smashed his volley beyond the keeper for the opener.
Rochdale looked to hit back straight away, with Done almost lobbing the ball over Ben Killip. The crossbar came to Pools rescue to deny the forward, and as his strike partner closed in, Jake Hull made a goal-saving challenge.
After the chance, our hosts saw plenty of the ball, but Pools found chances to break. Marcus Carver drove forwards to win a corner and Bryn Morris connected but saw his volley blocked. Further pressure from Pools followed, with a succession of corners coming after crosses from Ferguson and Morris.
As the half came to an end, Rochdale had a great chance to draw level. A cross from the left found Charman, but the forward couldn’t make a real connection and the ball drifted well wide. Pools had one last chance in the first half and Bryn Morris bulldozed from the edge of his own box to the edge of Rochdale’s area, but his low shot was deflected wide.
Dale came out of the traps quickly in the second half, but the defense and ‘keeper Ben Killip held firm. Odoh’s header swung towards the goal, but Killip got above Charman to claim the ball confidently. Done spun a shot behind from range and Hull had to be alert to sniff out further chances for Odoh and Charman.
Done had another go from the edge of the box, but Killip had everything behind it to relieve the pressure on the Pools goal. However, the respite was short-lived. On the hour mark, a low cross got all the way through and Keohane was on hand to tap in at the back post.
Rochdale thought they had a second minutes later. An in-swinging corner found Downing whose cross was flicked beyond Killip. As Dale celebrated, the offside flag went up and the scores remained level. Keohane had another chance to get in behind, but Pools held a good line and the wide man was caught offside.
A through ball almost found Carver, but Lynch was out quickly to clear his lines. As the clock ticked down, Pools were further reduced to chances on the break, with Crawford and Fletcher leading the charge when Nelson’s side got a foot on the ball.
At the death, fantastic sweeping from Killip denied Charman again. The forward looked favourite to reach it, but the ‘keeper did well and cleared the ball from danger. Then, at the end, Eoghan O’Connell strode forwards to break Pools’ resistance. The midfielder carried the ball more than 50 yards and planted a strike beyond Killip from the edge of the box.
Pools XI: Killip; Hull, Liddle, Byrne; Ogle, Crawford, Morris, Ferguson; White (Shelton 76); Carver (Fletcher 76), Bogle (Molyneux 62)
Unused Subs: Bilokapic, Smith